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Crestone Needle  
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Conditions Information  Posted By   Posted On    Photos  Comments  Likes, Dislikes    
2015-04-11  Route: South Face
Info: Still good coverage on the line, with pleasant climbing. Parts of the narrows are narrower than a ski width. Ski conditions were tough, and snow could really use a refresh. Rock hard penitente most of the way forced more sidestepping and down climbing than i‘d like. I guess i‘d give it 4* for climbing conditions, 1* for ski conditions. Still a fun way to start a long day. 
jkillgore  2015-04-13   0      1   Edit  Delete
2015-04-01  Route: South Face
Info: (Pics included) The Peak and the Needle southern couloirs are filled in, skiable, and have ice in the usual places. Westside (Cottonwood Creek) snowline was at about 10.2k and hard freeze line at about 11.2k (which meant there was 1k of slushy postholing, skinning, and grumbling) Spring corn cycle is occurring in the Crestones. But I saw no signs of big wet slides. More so, I saw lots of wind scouring/sastrugi. The day I went up, it never thawed due to wind and cloud cover. And the skiing sucked. Digging around revealed lots of variations in the snowpack, all safe, and everything on top was either wind buffed sun crust or just sun crust in exposed sun-affected areas. A north facing couloir I skied was wind/freeze crust on powder, and did not ski well (again it did not thaw that day, so on another day it may be good). I bootpacked south facing slopes with great purchase with crampons and only a few inches of perforation in the spring crust, and north facing slopes with up to thigh deep packed powder. 
swbackcountry  2015-04-03   2      3   Edit  Delete
2014-10-05  Route: South Face
Info: The hike to Broken Hand Pass had already become a snow climb as of 10-5, with drifted snow up to a foot deep in the very steepest portion of the gully. Snow had compacted considerably and there were (small) slab cracks. However, add more snow on top of that and if you have to proceed, you may want to have your avalanche gear with you. Above the pass on the south face, things had, before the current round of moisture, melted off. Intermittent snow and lots of wet rock (and wet boots), made it slow going for his hiker. I turned back at the gully crossover point though the people who did summit that day just continued up the "east" gully as the rock was, then, dry. 
Andy_Lyon  2014-10-09   1         Edit  Delete
2014-09-23  Route: South Face
Info: Route was clean of snow despite heavy rain the day prior. Dry. Probably won‘t last. Conditions were foggy and windy, making for a pretty surreal experience. True trip report to follow as time allows. 
mattpayne11  2014-09-25   1         Edit  Delete
2014-09-20  Route: South Face
Info: Great conditions. Didn‘t see any snow anywhere. Also, met a number of climbers who did the Arete and the traverse and said conditions were perfect. However, I‘m not sure if the latest storm on 9/21 dropped any snow. 
sheller  2014-09-22   0   1      Edit  Delete
2014-09-14  Route: South Face
Info: Still completely dry all the way to the top. Summer conditions holding, at least for a little while. 
meg383  2014-09-15   0         Edit  Delete
2014-09-10  Route: South Face
Info: Area got a lot of rain on Tuesday 9/9, but route all the way to the summit is still in good shape. Was 36 degrees on the summit at noon on 9/10, so ice concerns aren‘t too far away. 
Roald  2014-09-11   0   2      Edit  Delete
2014-09-03  Route: South Face
Info: Crestone Needle and Crestone Peak were dry and the conditions were perfect for climbing. The drive up to the South Colony Trail Head was also dry. 
Coyote_Run  2014-09-04   1         Edit  Delete
2014-08-10  Route: Ellingwood Arete (Ellingwood Ledges)
Info: Ellingwood ledges still dry as of this afternoon. Bring your hexes. Trickle of negligible water running down the 4th class direct gully on the Needle and dry in the standard gully. Some water across the approach trails. 
Monster5  2014-08-10   0         Edit  Delete
2014-08-02  Route: South Face
Info: Wet conditions! The entire South Colony Lakes has so much water right now. The trail has a lot of water in it on the approach, and many campsites are marshy, but not all. The East Gully is flowing quite a bit. It didn‘t impede our climb, but your feet will get wet. 
ezabielski  2014-08-05   0         Edit  Delete
2014-08-02  Route: South Face
Info: If you take the "short cut" from the 4wd parking lot (going right, toward Humboldt, instead of continuing along the 4wd road), lots of the trail is basically a stream. Sometimes you can get off the trail and bypass it, other times you can try to step on rocks in the trail, other times you just have to kinda straddle the trail. Very annoying. Going up Broken Hand Pass, and up the Needle, there is no snow on the route. 
bdloftin77  2014-08-03   0         Edit  Delete
2014-07-19  Route: South Face
Info: Crazy weather...sun, rain, hail, and snow flurries (up high). Lots of water running down both gullies, but the rock was not slick. We left a little later than normal to let the sun dry things out, which helped. 
desertdog  2014-07-20   0         Edit  Delete
2014-07-18  Route: South Face
Info: No snow whatsoever in the gullies of Crestone Needle or anywhere on the ascent. Almost no snow on the Broken Hand Pass ascent: only a few little bits where the snow overlaps the trail and you need to take maybe three steps in the snow to reach the trail on the other side. No need for any snow equipment of any kind. I only climbed Crestone Needle, so I can‘t comment on the gullies leading to Crestone Peak. I did find trekking poles to be very helpful until the gullies, when I put my poles in my pack and used my hands to help climb the gullies. We followed the standard route directions to use the east gully, cross the rib, and then make the final ascent up the west gully. On the descent, we inadvertently took the east gully for the entire descent. Frankly, I didn‘t find the east gully any more challenging than the west gully and made the descent without issue. The east gully is dotted with small silver foil stickers on rocks that indicate the route downward. I don‘t think you‘d notice these stickers on the ascent, as they‘re on rocks angled for a descending climber. I realize that some climbers may view these stickers as shiny trash on the mountain, but they helped me quite a lot and were very unobtrusive; I‘m grateful to whomever put them there. 
trinkner  2014-07-21   0      1   Edit  Delete
2014-07-12  Route: South Face
Info: Went up Crestone Needle on Saturday. Two small snowfields in the lower-middle sections of Broken Hand pass. The crux of the pass is still holding some snow. Although it made the crux moves a bit harder, no special gear was required at all. Above Broken Hand, the Needle had no snow anywhere. Both gulleys are running with a fair amount of water, making the climb more tricky than normal. 
Khieras  2014-07-13   4         Edit  Delete
2014-07-05  Route: South Face
Info: The only snow on the route is on the east side of Broken Hand Pass. There are two wider snow fields on the way up that are fairly easy to navigate without traction. However, there was still some snow in the rock band just below the east, upper slope of Broken Hand Pass. An ice ax is recommended in case things go wrong. With an ax, you can get by without crampons or spikes. Once you are on the ridge of BH Pass, the remaining standard route is completely dry and free of any snow or ice. 
zsmith  2014-07-07   2         Edit  Delete
2014-06-30  Route: Ellingwood Direct
Info: Snow on the technical route is a non-issue. There was one small patch higher up that is completely avoidable. There was still some snow along the beginning of Ellingwood Ledges. We didn‘t climb that way so I can‘t speak to the condition, but I have attached some photos for reference. The south gully is also free of snow. There was still some snow on broken hand pass, however it was soft and easy to kick steps. I did the descent in trail runners without any issues. No ice axe or crampons necessary, IMO. Also, I found the remnants of a silver camera, including the SD card, on the route. If it‘s yours send me a message and I‘d be happy to return it. Ironically, when I reached down to pick up the silver camera, I dropped mine. So if anyone happens to find a blue Fuji camera I would love to get the SD card back. Thanks. 
RyanM3502  2014-07-03   3           
2014-06-22  Route: South Face
Info: Mosquito season has started! We were attacked at the 4WD trailhead all the way up to treeline. The approach to Broken Hand Pass is still covered with a lot of snow. The last 200 yards is deep snow. Crampons would make it really easy to climb up, but you can dig steps with the toe of your boot. You must be prepared to self-arrest, as the slide down will be fast and may end in rocks. The trail above the pass is in good shape and the little bit of snow/ice and running water in the East Couloir is easy to avoid. On the way down, we found a series of reflective squares (2x2") that someone glued on the rocks to mark the route - they were great until just below the couloir where they took us too high on the ridge and into a snow field - we left them and went back to the main trail. Feel free to PM for more details. 
COEngineer  2014-06-23   1   3      Edit  Delete
2014-05-14  Route: South Face
Info: Didn‘t climb it but it‘s super fat. 
freeinthehills  2014-05-17   0   1      Edit  Delete
2014-02-17  Route: South Face
Info: I didn‘t climb it, but I got close enough of to see that Crestone Needle was getting a fair amount of west winds scouring it clean and rime ice build up in the morning. -When i figure out how to resize my photos Ill add one. 
jmanner  2014-02-18   1      1   Edit  Delete
2014-01-26  Route: East Gully
Info: Multiple icy spots in the East gully. Snow is supportive, almost spring-like quality. Ice ax/ice tool and crampons are recommended. Continued with traverse to Peak. Approached from Cottonwood creek TH with a good trail up to 10k. 
SnowAlien  2014-01-27   3   2   2     

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